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4 Powerful Ways to Double Your Productivity (Without Coffee)

4 Powerful Ways to Double Your Productivity (Without Coffee)

For decades now, we have depended on the caffeine from coffee to keep us alert and productive.

While coffee can be beneficial, it also has its downsides, as we wrote in Rype’s blog. In fact, coffee is not a necessary component for us to increase our productivity if we have the right strategies in place.

By leveraging the resources we have in our lives, planning our day strategically, and some mindful practices, we can get more done in less time without depending on coffee.

Here are the 4 powerful ways to double your productivity.

1. Practice the art of not thinking

The skill of not thinking is one that is easier said than done.

Our brains are wired to constantly be thinking, that it feels strange to simply shutting of our thoughts. In fact, the average individual has over 60,000 thoughts a day!

This is where meditation comes in.

For decades now, meditating has been the go to practice for stress relief.
The endless benefits of meditation includes: increased attention span, improving brain function, better quality of sleep, and more.

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Meditation does not necessarily mean sitting cross-legged in a pitch black room with your eyes closed (although it could). Depending on your personality, meditation could mean a mantra you say to yourself, a relaxing breakfast where you savor each bite, or it could even mean taking a nice, long hike. Here are the several unique ways to meditate, depending on your personality.

2. Priming

Priming is another powerful method that can help you feel more energy by changing your physical state, boost brain power, and preparing your mind to increase productivity in the morning.
If forcing yourself not to think seems impossible, then priming may be for you.

Here is the method that Tony Robbins advocates:

The first thing you should do is change your physical state. This could mean hopping into a cold shower, doing a few jumping jacks, or deep breathing for 30 seconds. If you want to learn the full method of breathing that Tony preaches, click here to listen.

From there, you:

#1. Sit up on your bed or chair and close your eyes.

#2. Think of three things that you’re grateful for, spending one minute thinking of each (3 minutes)

Ask yourself questions like:

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  • Who do you love?
  • Who loves you?
  • What is the wealth you have currently in your life — technology? choices? friends? books? ideas? opportunities?
  • What’s right in your life?
  • What’s beautiful?
  • What’s magical?

#3. Think of three things that you envision yourself creating in your life. Focus on the future, but state it as if you have already achieved it.

It could be:

  • “I’m a successful entrepreneur, living life the way I want, with my own rules.”
  • “I have the deepest, most loving relationship with my partner.”
  • “I can speak fluent Spanish and able to connect with anyone as I travel.”

3. Take strategic breaks

Sleep deprivation is a big deal, and even a norm in our society.

A recent Harvard study estimated that sleep deprivation costs American companies $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity. When we’re working at high intensity for more than 90 minutes, we begin to rely on stress hormones — adrenalin, noradrenalin and cortisol — to keep us going.  In the process, we move from parasympathetic to a sympathetic arousal — a physiological state more commonly known as “fight or flight.”

This doesn’t have to mean sleeping 10 hours a day, instead of your normal 8.
By taking strategic naps during the day, you can revitalize your mind and give your brain the rest it needs to increase productivity.

When night shift air traffic controllers were given 40 minutes to nap — and slept an average of 19 minutes — they performed higher on tests that measured vigilance and reaction time.

Longer naps have an even more profound impact than shorter ones. Sara C. Mednick, a sleep researcher at the University of California, Riverside, found that a 60 to 90-minute nap improved memory test results as fully as did eight hours of sleep.

In addition to strategic naps, a tactic that is shared by Buffer is called the Pomodoro Technique.

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Here’s how it works:

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    This means 25 minutes of distraction-free work — without Facebook, phone notifications, or multi-tasking! Just one task only.

    If you’re serious about testing out the Pomodoro Technique, here are the tools required to get started:

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      How many Pomodoro’s should you go through per day?

      One of the writers at Buffer experimented this on himself, and found that he only needed 40 Pomodoro’s in order to get all of his weekly tasks done.

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        Keep in mind, this will depend on each individual and you should adjust everything shared according to your own preference. This could mean working in 40 minute spurts instead of 25, or taking 10 minutes off instead of 5. Go nuts!

        4. Have a support team

        No matter what we’re doing, we weren’t meant to go at it alone.

        Whether it’s a friend, family, partner, or coach, building a support team of positive people around you is one of the most effective ways to rest your brain and maintain your health.

        For high-level executives, this could mean working with a business coach to help them make better decisions.

        For business owners, this could mean outsourcing tasks that you hate doing, that will give you the time and headspace to focus on what you love doing.

        For language learners, this could mean working with a language coach, to save you the wasted time that comes with learning on your own, and keeping you accountable.

        “Individually we are one drop. But together, we are an ocean.”

        Going at it alone can be the biggest stressor and detriment for many of us.

        Build yourself a pond, then a lake, and soon you will have an ocean.

        Over to you!

        Which of these tips was your favorite to increase productivity?
        What is your experience with burning out and lacking rest?
        Share with us below!

        p.s – if you enjoyed this, you’ll also enjoy reading How to Find More Time In Your Schedule to Learn Something New, and 7 Research-Backed Ways to Stop Procrastinating (And Get More Done)

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        Last Updated on December 5, 2018

        How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

        How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

        Being an efficient manager and a charismatic boss at the same time can seem like an impossible task. Is there a way to deliver the desired results for your business while remaining liked and respected by your staff?

        We all know bad examples of team leaders who seem to fail at one aspect or the other, or even at both. But we’ve also heard of awesome managers who seem to juggle both things well enough.

        How do they do it?

        By sticking to few proven ways that let them maintain a positive karma score while remaining efficient. In this article, we’ll guide you through 11 smart management tips on how to lead a team and become something more than a boss – a leader.

        1. Find a Management Strategy and Stick to It

        There’s nothing worse than a boss that keeps changing his or her opinions and assignments depending on their mood or a book they read this week. Chaotic decisions increase the insecurity and frustration of your team, so you better find your strategy and stick to it.

        If you do find some new methods you want your staff to follow, make sure they don’t contradict the general direction you are taking. Otherwise, you risk making your team take one step forward and two steps back.

        2. Set Goals​ and Track Progress in Reaching Them

        Set individual and collective goals​ for your team and track the progress in reaching them. This might sound obvious at first, but too often we find ourselves stuck between daily customer requests and monthly reports, and the bigger goal or vision seems to fade away.

        According to Elon Musk (and many other successful CEOs around the Globe), it’s crucial to have a clear and motivating aim to where the company is heading. His aim for the space transportation company SpaceX is “to make humankind a multi-planetary species”.[1] That’s a huge goal but the company is slowly moving closer to it by reaching smaller steps and milestones, like launching self-landing rockets. This is also a very inspiring and meaningful goal that helps employees endure the company’s extremely high expectations and 60 to 70-hour work weeks.[2]

        Even if your goals are not as grand, setting and reaching milestones will give you a clear insight into the team’s overall efficiency and daily progress. With time, you will be able to see the weak spots and improve your results.​

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        3. Demand Learning from Your Team

        CEO of print on demand startup Printful, Davis Siksnans, believes that:[3]

        “The key for a company going through rapid growth is to empower your employees’ self-development.”

        His company with 500 employees spanning two continents demands a culture of learning and provides all the tools necessary to do it.

        Their idea is –  as the company scales, people have to grow in their positions too, which means that they have to be constantly learning. Siksnans says:

        “We try to hire people for what they might become, but they need to have that drive.“

        Alternatively, you can provide educational courses for your employees or invite informal lecturers to educate and inspire your team. You can also encourage peer-to-peer learning by asking employees to teach their particular experience or skill to co-workers.

        4. Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment

        Studies show that a well-designed office environment can increase your team’s overall performance by as much as 20%. You’ll be surprised to see that even very small interior tweaks that don’t require major investments can improve your workers’ performance.

        Some ideas for a more productive and pleasing work environment:

        • Invest in modern furniture – offer ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and individually arranged workplaces​.
        • Start an in-house library – reading for pleasure just 30 minutes a day is proven to be enough to become more effective at work,[4] improve focus, and deal with problems like depression and anxiety.​
        • Play jazzy office music – rhythmic background music will help workers feel more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.​
        • Set up entertainment or break rooms – being able to relax and have fun at work creates a strong commitment, helps employees relax and clear their minds, and boosts productivity.​
        • Bring in uplifting office decor – it’s been found that art in the workplace can boost productivity,[5] lower stress, and even encourage employees to innovate.​
        • Decorate the office with live plants for freshness and a welcoming feel. Furthermore, plants are found to ensure better air quality and increase workers’ productivity by 15%.[6]

        5. Be Kind and Sincere to Your Team

        Did you know that 50% of employees quit because they dislike working with their manager?[7] In fact, most times when people leave their jobs they actually leave their managers. Being friendly and sincere may not be enough to be a successful manager, but it’s a big part of it.

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        Some ways to show you appreciate and care for your staff:

        • Celebrate the progress and achievements of your employees. And don’t be shy to simply say thanks.​
        • Talk to your employees regularly and really listen to what they have to say. Address their concerns, help them reach their goals and do your best to improve their work and daily life.
        • If you’re having a bad day, don’t pour out your stress and anger on the staff. Instead, try to recharge yourself by appreciating the achievements of your team and setting the next goals.
        • Try not to overload your team with work. Every company has rush periods when it’s okay to have more work than usual. But remember that people cannot work under prolonged pressure and stress.
        • Don’t be selfish – it can be very demotivating to see that the manager only focuses on what you can do for him and doesn’t care about your goals and well-being.​ As the CEO of Xerox Anne M. Mulcahy put it,[8]

          “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.”

        Whenever you are having doubts about your kind attitude, remember – satisfied employees are productive employees which lead to satisfied customers and eventually – success for your company.

        6. Offer Flexible Work Hours

        The traditional Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job is beginning to slip away. Increasingly more people are working remotely or having flexible work hours, and we can expect this trend to continue. To adapt to these changing habits and remain competitive in the labor market, more employers are offering the chance to choose your own work hours, work from home or even from another city or country.

        Offering flexible hours is a powerful way to inspire your existing staff and give them intrinsic motivation. Why not let your employees choose their preferred working hours while keeping the 8-hour day? For example, night owls are unhappy and unproductive if they have to come to work before 10 AM, while others might prefer to start at 7 and finish earlier.

        You can go even farther and hire remote workers – this way you’ll be able to recruit from a global talent pool and even save money on office expenses like desks, stationery, electricity, etc.[9]

        7. Track Your Team’s Productive Time

        Not monitoring your employees’ progress and efficiency can result in poor performance and slacking. Instead of letting things go with the flow, you should consider installing time-tracking software on your employees’ computers and see who’s doing great and who might need a productivity boost.

        But don’t get it wrong – there’s no need to become big brother and watch every step your employees take. If you use the time-tracker as a spying tool, you will only see increasing suspicion and insecurity around you, and your employees’ happiness levels will drop.

        On the contrary, choose software that allows employees to mark private time that won’t be tracked. In addition, consider these time-management tactics:

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        • Allow flexible work hours. (see Tip No 6)
        • Encourage breaks – studies show that employees who take regular breaks are more productive than those who don’t.[10]
        • Enable remote work to show your employees that you trust them and that they can work from home or even from another country (if they can maintain sufficient productivity).
        • Consider offering bonuses to your most productive employees (those who show productivity levels above 90 or 95%).

        8. Use Only Constructive Criticism

        Constructive criticism means offering valid and rational opinions about the work of others, involving both positive comments and remarks about what should be improved. Constructive criticism is usually expressed in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

        When you evaluate your team’s work, give them feedback that’s helpful, specific, and sincere. Don’t be shy to praise, but also be direct and even strict when necessary.

        9. Don’t Give Special Treatment to Yourself

        The boss’s actions are – directly or indirectly – observed by your team. This means that your employees look up to you and often mimic your attitude towards your work and the company – especially if your actions don’t show commitment. Nobody wants to work for a leader who doesn’t go all in or inspire motivation.

        What you should do is lead by example. If you expect your employees to arrive at work on time and work 8 hours, do the same yourself. If you want them to show initiative, show it yourself and encourage others to do the same.

        Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn – a company of 3,000 employees that consistently ranks as one of the best workplaces with a 92 percent employee-approval rating.[11] Weiner’s workdays are reported to be equally long or even longer than those of his employees, allowing him to stay “extremely credible as a leader.”

        10. Empower Your Employees

        Here’s a common mistake many managers make:

        They don’t motivate their staff and assume they simply love to work for their company.​ Such belief can result in painful losses for the company – especially these days when many companies are in desperate need of a reliable workforce.

        Instead of directly thinking about bonuses and perks, consider intrinsic motivation. For example, enable flat organization in your team and listen to your employees’ ideas when they come up with opinions and suggestions. Your company might actually benefit a great deal from the feedback, and the unique ideas employees come up with.

        You can also start an initiative where employees can freely share or pitch their business ideas to you or the founders of the company. If the idea is accepted by the management, the project can be developed, and the employee can have equity options.

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        If people feel they have an impact in the company, they become more motivated, engaged and interested in the company’s growth.

        11. Nurture Your Company Culture

        Company culture is the personality of a company that defines the overall work environment and relationships between teammates. It also includes company mission, values, ethics, and goals.

        Some examples of company cultures are the Horizontal corporate culture (collaborative and equal; popular among startups and free-spirited businesses) and Conventional corporate culture (a more risk-averse and hierarchy-based approach common in traditional companies).

        However, you don’t have to stick to pre-existing boxes when creating your corporate culture. You might think of your team as a family, a sports team, or even a hippie camp if it fits your business and purpose. But keep in mind that by the time a company’s size reaches 20 employees, the company culture is set,[12] and any changes will need to be implemented in smaller teams.

        Whichever personality you choose for your company, make sure to live by it and nurture it. Some things that might help:

        Team building events, relevant books in your office library and proper on-boarding for the new employees to get everyone on the same page from the very beginning.

        Be a Leader, Not a Boss

        Using the words of Printful’s CEO Davis Siksnans, the ultimate goal is to “Hire great people who don’t have to be managed.”

        However, when you do need to demonstrate some initiative and control, act as a leader rather than as a boss.

        In other words, don’t be afraid to show the personality behind your role. And keep these 11 tips close to your heart.

        Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

        Reference

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